Relationships Key for Business Investment and Opportunity
In real estate, location, location, location is the mantra. In economic development, it’s relationships, relationships, relationships.
This fall, your regional economic development team cultivated relationships across the country and around the world on your behalf that we are confident will yield significant returns in investment and opportunity in the future.
An aggressive fall travel schedule showcased the region’s strengths and assets in front of audiences from Alaska to Beijing. An October roundtable brought a piece of the world to you in the form of a high-level economic development delegation from Singapore, a key business gateway to all of Asia.
Whether engaging guests here in the region or taking our region on the road, the Research Triangle Regional Partnership focuses on one important bottom line – making sure that when innovative growing companies in our targeted industry clusters decide to locate or expand, ours is the region that comes first to mind.
That strategy continues to pay off. In the past five years, three-quarters of the region’s announced investments, by both new and expanding companies, have come from industries in our targeted clusters. Combined, they invested $6.6 billion and created 63 percent of our new jobs.
Just last year, 14 international companies announced plans to invest in new or expanded business operations in the Research Triangle Region. The $309.2 million in foreign investment arriving here this year represents 30 percent of the total industrial investment coming into the region and will create 2,000 jobs.
These companies invest in our region because they’re confident they’ll find the ingredients – talent, ecosystem and vendors who know their industry – that will help their company grow and thrive.
Our job as regional marketers is to help them gain the confidence they need to invest. Relationships are key.
Our relationship-building strategy begins with the people who influence much of the world’s location decision-making: site selection consultants. Companies rely heavily on these location professionals to know and understand their markets, sift through vast amounts of data and match the economic assets of communities with the growth needs of their businesses. So we spend considerable time and resources marketing to them.
We communicate regularly with about 600 consultants who represent companies of all industries and geographies. We plan our travel strategically to connect with those who matter most. We update them on our region, our assets, our companies and our successes. We work to ensure they know why their clients will be better served by locating or expanding their business in the Research Triangle Region or partnering with our companies. We offer impeccable service to these consultants to make their lives – and company referrals – easier.
In many instances, our reputation now precedes us thanks to a decade of strategic work building our global brand in information technology, life sciences and clean technology and our Triple Helix model of economic development, in which business, government and academia work collaboratively to promote economic growth.
Consultants seek us out to help them with projects, and we regularly receive invitations for our staff and regional business experts to speak at high-profile events around the world. We accept invitations that fit our strategic plan.
I was invited, for instance, to be one of three experts speaking at the International Economic Development Council’s 2015 annual conference in Alaska on the link between research universities and advanced manufacturing and how both can work together to boost the regional economy. That engagement amplified and reinforced our position as a global leader in innovation.
Our reputation also brings delegations to our region to explore potential partnerships, as in October, when the delegation led by Singapore’s ambassador to the United States visited.
It’s a big world, and we face intense competition for investment. But it’s getting smaller every day as we engage face-to-face with business decision-makers and their advisors through these missions.
For our member counties, RTRP’s relationship-building success means more opportunity to attract profitable, jobs-producing companies to their communities. For our business investors, it means more opportunity to expand their markets, at home and abroad.
Expect to see more on our relationship-building plans when we launch our new strategic plan in July. Investing in relationships is an investment that delivers significant return.